Artem Dalakian is a fly weight from Ukraine who currently holds a 20-0 record. He’s also the WBA world champion for that weight class yet no one talks about him. Often when someone isn’t talked about its because they are being avoided but I’d argue this isn’t the case here. While Dalakian is a good fighter hes not someone that people would avoid especially in the lower weight classes where to make money the best have to fight the best. The reason people don’t know him is because his title run has been horrible so far. Hes picked out people that don’t have any chance of winning and most importantly they aren’t contenders in his division.
Dalakian fights with his hands low most of the time and relies on speed to keep him out of trouble. Hes not that active of a fighter and is happy to wait for his opportunities. He can punch in combination but mostly throws one two’s and perhaps a body shot before going on the back foot countering again.
Dalakian’s best win was when he won the vacant title vs Brian Viloria a former champ who has consistently fought the best in his career. Dalakian put on a good performance vs the former champ who was admittedly perhaps past his best days. After winning the title you would have expected him to perhaps get signed to a promoter in the US but that didn’t happen so he went back to Ukraine.
This is where it all started to go wrong for him as instead of fighting a top contender he fought Sirichai Thaiyen a fighter from Thailand that hadn’t done much since being stopped in 2014 by Juan Carlos Reveco. As his first defense this wasn’t the worse as at least the challenger had fought at the top level before even if it was in a losing effort. Thaiyen didn’t win a round and was stopped in the 8th but for a first defense it wasn’t the worse opponent as in modern boxing every champions first defense is normally an easy fight. While I disagree with this being a common thing I’m not going to disparage Dalakian for this defense.
What I can Critisize is his second defense versus Gregorio Lebron. Lebrons’ claim to fame is losing two fights for the interim title to a fighter from Thailand in Thailand. Whether he was robbed is up to opinion but what isn’t up to opinion is that he hadn’t faced any top competition since those two fights and that by the time he fought Dalakian he was 36. If your 36 and a heavyweight you can compete at the highest level but for a flyweight its very hard to compete at the top once you get to that sort of age. Certain fighters like Moruti Mthalane can do it but they are special fighters and not at all common. Lebron was dispatched in four rounds by Dalakian who did what he was supposed to do against an over matched opponent.
Now after two bad defenses you would have thought that Dalakian would step up and fight a contender but you would be wrong. He fought Sarawut Thawornkham who had beaten three opponents with winning records before getting this title shot. He eventually stopped him in the tenth round when against this level of opponent it shouldn’t take that long. At this point it starts to get embarrassing not just for Dalakain who is clearly picking opponents that should be no where near a world title but also the WBA for allowing him to do this. Similarly in his latest defense he fought Josber Perez who had only beaten three people with a positive record before getting the title shot. To make matters worse Perez’s last fight was versus a 0-1 fighter and the fight before that Perez lost. The fact that Perez was picked as an opponent here shows Dalakians level of ambition in boxing at this point. To pick a fighter who had beaten a 0-1 fighter after being beat themselves is terrible and Perez isn’t a fighter who you might pick to fight even if they lost recently because their known and have accomplished a lot in the sport. Perez in four years proved nothing as a pro but was gifted a title shot while the man that beat him got a shot at the interim world title on the same day.
Its sad really because Dalakian is talented enough to compete in great unifications versus the other champions in his division like Moruti Mthalane and Julio Cesar Martinez but seems content making defenses vs sub par competition in Ukraine. I also think that as hes competing versus challengers not on his level that hes degrading and its only a matter of time before some unlikely fighter beats him. Hopefully this year he shows more ambition and stops holding the WBA Flyweight world title hostage but i’m not holding my breath. Hes a forgotten champion in boxing and unfortunately he has no one but himself to blame.